Marin Čilić clinched his first grand slam title, cruising past Kei Nishikori in straight sets to win the 2014 US Open.
14th seed Marin Čilić became the surprise champion of the 2014 US Open, beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in under two hours.
Both players scored unexpected semi-final wins over the top two seeds to set up the ultimate underdog final, with Čilić beating second seed Roger Federer in straight sets, while Nishikori defeated world number one Novak Djokovic in four sets.
Nishikori went into the match as the favourite, holding a 5-2 lead over Čilić in their head-to-head battles, as well as defeating three top five players on his way to the final – Djokovic, Milos Raonic and Stanislas Wawrinka.
10th seed Nishikori was also the higher ranked player in the final, but the 24-year-old was toppled by an in-form Čilić.
The 25-year-old Croatian broke Nishikori’s serve in the sixth game on his way to claiming the first set.
In the second set, the first-time grand finalists traded breaks, before Čilić broke the Japanese number one’s serve in the ninth game to take the set 6-3.
The Croatian broke Nishikori’s serve early in the third set and held on to claim his maiden grand slam title.
Impressively, Čilić smashed 17 aces and 38 winners, compared to Nishikori’s one ace and 19 winners.
The grand slam triumph comes a year after Čilić missed the US Open due to a four-month doping ban.
“This is all hard work in these last several years and also last year,” Čilić said after the final.
“Everything I was working for, the dreaming … I think this is a big sign and a big hope that if you are working hard, things are going to pay off.”
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3 to win her sixth US Open and 18th grand slam.
The world number one went the entire tournament without dropping a set to win her third consecutive title in New York.
Wozniacki – a former world number one – suffered her second straight-sets loss in a US Open final, following her 2009 loss against Kim Clijsters.
Williams has now equaled legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on 18 grand slam titles, just four behind Steffi Graf.
“It is a pleasure to win my first Grand Slam here and number 18,” Williams said during the trophy ceremony.
“I’m really emotional, I couldn’t ask to do it at a better place.”
Written by Marco Balsamo